Launch of Ireland’s first cigarette recycling bin

Ireland’s first cigarette recycling bin has been officially launched in Ballymun with representatives from Dublin City Council, Ballymun Tidy Towns and Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) in attendance. The bin is developed by Irish start-up, which is collecting used cigarette butts and recycling them into material for applications such as glasses and other products.

“Cigarette butts are among the most common forms of litter in Ireland,“ says IBAL’s Conor Horgan. “They may not be as visible as sweet wrappers or plastic bottles, but they are far from harmless. Cigarette filters are essentially single-use plastic and research has shown that a single butt can contaminate up to 200 litres of ground water. In Ireland we consume millions of such butts every single day.”

As well as preventing litter by encouraging proper disposal of butts, recycling butts also reduces the consumption of virgin plastic. Butts are transported to partner company Filtracycle, led by co-founder Liam Lysaght, who, operating in a dedicated new facility in Ballyogan in Dublin, present the material for reuse as a plastic ingredient. In excess of 200,000 butts have already been repurposed this year alone. Among’s initial clients is Dublin-based Ambr Eyewear, which has committed to using the recycled material in its blue light-reducing glasses.   

Bins are provided at an annual charge of €100, which covers the costs of installation and maintenance, as well as the fortnightly collection of used butts. Each bin can capture a potential 100,000 butts per annum – the equivalent plastic for over 1,000 plastic bottles – which up to now would end up in landfill or the ocean.        

Over 60 bins are already installed across Dublin, among them Mountjoy Prison, city centre entertainment venues and public areas of Finglas, Tallaght and Blanchardstown. IBAL is supporting a pilot in Kilkenny, which will see a number of bins installed in high-footfall city centre locations.

“There is no reason why these bins cannot be permanent fixtures in every town and city in Ireland within a year or two,“ maintains Conor Horgan. “It only needs the will of the local authority to make it happen.”

Pictured at the official launch of Ireland’s first cigarette recycling bin in Ballymun are Mikey Wylde of and Marguerite Delaney, Environmental Liaison Officer, Dublin City Council.